Bunnings chief executive John Gillam is stepping down as boss of the business after 12 years at the helm.

The DIY chain’s owner Wesfarmers revealed that Gillam is leaving the post, but will remain at Bunnings in an advisory role.

Gillam will continue to chair the Bunnings Group Council, which was set up when Wesfarmers acquired Homebase for £340m back in January, and will also join the Bunnings UK and Ireland advisory board as the Australian retailer bids to establish itself in Britain.

Following Gillam’s departure, Bunnings Australia and New Zealand managing director Mike Schneider and its UK and Ireland boss Peter Davis will report directly to Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder.

Gillam said it was “the right time to pass on the leadership baton” after more than a decade in the role and 20 years at Wesfarmers.

He previously worked in the group’s business development team and served as chief financial officer of Bunnings, company secretary of the Wesfarmers Group and managing director of chemical supplier CSBP, before taking on the top job at Bunnings in 2004.

’indelible and positive legacy’

Gillam added: “Mike and PJ [Peter Davis] have been outstanding leaders in helping drive the growth and success of Bunnings and are well placed to take the business forward.

“I look forward to continuing to support the Bunnings team in an advisory capacity, while also having the opportunity in the coming years to pursue other interests.”

Goyder said: “In every role he has been outstanding and left an indelible and positive legacy.

“His performance at the helm of Bunnings has seen him now recognised as one of Australia’s leading retailers and Bunnings is now a national institution.

“The recent acquisition of Homebase in the UK and Ireland has provided our company with a new platform for long-term future growth.”